The lessons of Zionists and the Nazis

By Mike Cushman
April 2016

It is a matter of historical record that some Zionists tried to do a deal with the Nazis in the 1930s. We should try and see this through what they knew at the time rather than with the aid of hindsight. Before Kristallnacht in 1938 it is quite possible that the Zionists saw the Nazis as maybe worse but not different in kind from the pogroms Jews of Eastern and Central Europe had suffered and survived for centuries; the brownshirts were just the new Cossacks. Maybe a closer reading of Mein Kampf would have told them different but neither they, nor anyone else, foresaw the Holocaust.

What is important is the lessons that are to be drawn from Heskem Haavara. In 1933 the Zionists in Germany thought that doing a deal with the Nazis would help them establish a Jewish state in Palestine. That the Nazis were antisemites was less important to them than that they supported proto-Israel. But you can only learn from history if you acknowledge history and Zionist organisations try to pretend that the Haavara never happened: Haavara denial.

Why is this important to those not interested in the minutiae of pre-war history? It is because the Israeli Government and their Zionist apologists are still seeking the support of visceral antisemites providing they support Israel. We can see this in the affectionate relationship between Israel and the US Christians United for Israel (CUFI). CUFI was founded by John Hagee who has claimed that, “God sent Hitler as a ‘hunter,’ in order to ‘hunt them [Jews] from every mountain and from every hill and out of the holes of the rocks … to get them to come back to the land of Israel’“. Hagee has argued with another Christian Zionist Joseph Farah CEO of WorldNetDaily about who has the purest antisemitic views.

They argue their points in terms of the fate of Jews and their eternal damnation as foretold in the Book of Revelations in the Christian Bible and Isiah in the Jewish Bible. We can infer however that their views are more practical. Like the Nazis they would rather the Jews were somewhere else rather than living next door. Having them forgather in Israel solves that problem as well as prefiguring the rapture. From 9/11 onward we may also suspect that they have come to hate Muslims even more than Jews and their Islamophobia leads them to ally themselves with Israel against their feared Islamic invasion of America – Europe to them is already lost.

None of this prevented Benjamin Netanyahu embracing Hagee when CUFI held their conference in Jerusalem in 2012. In the same year the largest US pro-Israel lobby Group, AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) inviting Hagee to give the keynote speech at their annual conference.

What is clear is that antisemitism is unimportant to Israel providing you support their actions. For Zionists, perceiving antisemitism is a weapon to bludgeon their opponents not a principle. Proclaiming antisemitism is a tactic to attempt to scare diaspora Jews into making Aliyah, migrating to Israel.

The lesson of the thirties is that doing business with those who wish you dead may, or may not, be tactically astute; it does not promise long life and happiness.


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One thought on “The lessons of Zionists and the Nazis”

  1. Ken Livingstone walked right into the elephant-trap that’s been erected around the 1930s interplay between the Zionists and the Nazi regime in Germany. Discourse on this subject is generally explained as a matter of insensitivity, and understood by free speech advocates and anti-Zionists as simply a way to cast the net wider and wider, and extend further the definition of what is unacceptable.

    But could this blanket taboo on looking at the period be motivated by more than a desire to keep everyone else on the back foot and on the defense? What if there is much more to be learned about what must have seemed at the time to be clever use of realpolitik to benefit the colonisation of Palestine, but which in hindsight was monstrous collusion that actually aided the consolidation of Nazi power? And even if there are no more secrets, what better way to restrict the circulation of this knowledge than to taint it with the whiff of anti-semitism?

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